Neither Bryan or I had ever been to Boston before, but it’s always been on our “must see” list! Now that it’s a 2 hour flight away from Indy and the leaves are turning for fall, we decided it was the perfect time to go.
It definitely did not disappoint! If anything, the city exceeded our expectations and we’ll definitely be back. It’s such a cool blend of history and beautiful architecture combined with an amazing food scene, fun and eclectic neighborhood, very walkable, and tons to do. Below is a summary of what we did during our week in Boston!
Airport/Rental Car: The primary airport in Boston is called “Boston Logan International Airport” (BOS). It’s located just to the northwest of the city and can be as fast as a 10-15 minute drive at the right time of day. We landed closer to rush hour and it took no more than 30 minutes to get to our hotel.
Our airport system that we’ve used recently (if there is a shuttle involved to get the rental car) is we take all of our luggage and find a spot for me & Henry to sit and wait. This is a great time for Henry to have a bottle. Eloise and Bryan get on the shuttle (at BOS this is bus #22) and go get the car. Once they have the car they loop back through the airport and pick us up. In our opinion, this is way easier than loading all of our luggage + 2 kids onto an airport shuttle bus.
We rented a car from Sixt rental cars. It wasn’t a company that we’ve used before, but it was awesome! Bryan likes their selection of cars. They are a ‘newer’ car rental company, based out of Germany and we wanted to give it a try. Very short line, great customer service, good prices and we’d use them again! Per usual, we rented a car seat for Eloise from Sixt, so that we didn’t have to travel with one.
Hotel: We stayed at the Westin Copley Place on Huntington Avenue in the Back Bay neighborhood. We booked a bigger room (Studio Suite) because we knew the kids would need good naps and that the extra space would be nice to be able to spread out a bit. The room was very large with plenty of room for a crib for Henry (hotel provided) and Eloise was more than happy to sleep on the large sectional couch. Overall the room was very nice, clean, and more than enough room! The hotel is in a great location near a ton of different food options and transportation – highly recommend!
The only ‘different’ situation with this hotel going on that you may want to know about is that it’s doubling as a college dorm at the moment – has been for the past year during Covid. There are several hundred Northeastern University students who call the Westin “home” and take up the lower 19 or so floors of the hotel. It makes things a little ‘busy,’ but at no point would I say it was crowded. Everyone we encountered in the hallways or elevators was very respectful and pleasant. It didn’t detract from our stay at all – was just more people in the elevator for Henry to smile at and make friends with!
Within Walking Distance:
Tatte Bakery and Cafe – Less than a 10 minute walk from the hotel, this was a great stop for a coffee and a pastry on the way to the park. Super cute inside with way too much good stuff to choose from! I would have tried one of everything if given the chance! Drip coffee was perfect for me, Bryan had a delicious cappuccino, and we shared butter croissants and a couple of sweet treats for Eloise.
Public Garden and Boston Common – America’s first public botanical garden (1837) and the first public park (1634). We enjoyed a really nice walk through the garden and park on the way to Tadpole Playground for Eloise to go play. The trees are beautiful, there are some amazing historical statues and plaques to learn about and lots of space to spread out and have a picnic. Make sure to check out the Make Way for the Ducklings statues! They were all dressed up for Halloween while we were there.
Boston Duck Tours – An absolute blast! Had the driver ‘gone around again,’ Eloise would have happily stayed on the bus! We boarded at the Prudential Center which was right next to the hotel and the tour lasted for almost 90 minutes, but it went by fast. You get to see a bunch of highlights of the city, and our tour guide was beyond hilarious. Bryan and I both laughed pretty consistently for the entire ride. We were super lucky and picked a warm day to go (buy tickets ahead of time, they sell out), so even the dip in the Charles River was pleasant. Highly recommend it!
Prudential Center: Tons of great shopping and restaurants.
Dirty Water Dough Company: We walked here from our hotel to pick up pizza for a slow night in our room one of the nights while Bryan went to the Red Sox game. It was a cute little dive spot and the pizza was good!
Abe & Louie’s: We had a delicious lunch here on Boylston Street. Lobster mac and cheese to start and we each had a really good salad.
Stephanie’s on Newbury: Another great spot for lunch. The star of the show here in terms of food was the back bay rice bowl. I had it with salmon and Bryan had it with chicken. Very good, but huge, we probably could have shared.
A quick drive from the hotel:
For our last night we met up with our friend Alison in the North End neighborhood of Boston (10 or 15 minute drive from the hotel). Had we gone sooner in our trip, we might have spent more time there! It’s such a fun neighborhood. Hip, lively, incredible restaurants, and such amazing character throughout.
We had dinner at a place called Cantina Italiana on Hanover street. Fresh, delicious pasta and a great selection of wine and cocktails. Bryan had the penne arrabiata (spicy, but so good) and I had the pappardelle with basil and pine nuts. By the end of this meal, there was no food on anyone’s plates. It was awesome, and I’m pretty sure you could have eaten just about anywhere on Hanover street and had a great experience. Most of the restaurants were full. The street really does have the feel of being in a fun neighborhood in Italy. It was a blast!
One of the coolest features of these restaurants is that they don’t sell dessert. They do this so you’ll go to one of the bakeries/cafes/pastry shops on the street. After tasting a cannoli from Modern Pastry, I’m all for this plan. Both Modern Pastry and Mike’s Pastry were close to where we had dinner and had lines out the door. This is usually a pretty good sign that what’s inside is delicious and it was absolutely true in this case. Everything behind the counter looked amazing. We got cannolis and a cupcake for Eloise. You can’t go wrong here.
Parking is very limited in the North End. We parked at 600 Commercial Street and walked. If you could take an Uber/Lyft or walk here, that would be your best bet.
New England Aquarium – You have to reserve tickets ahead of time, but this was also worth the trip. It wasn’t too crowded and we did the whole thing in less than 2 hours. Eloise was totally entertained by all the fish, penguins, seals, etc. The aquarium is built in a giant circular walkway all around an enormous tank in the middle. It has a really nice flow to it and it sort of keeps you moving the whole time which was great. Make sure you get all the way to the top of the main tank so you can see the giant turtles. Stand by the side and they’ll poke their heads up and say hi! Exit through the gift shop… always, haha!
We had lunch at a place across the street called Granary Tavern. They had a pretty good drink selection and menu and Eloise was happy with her chicken tenders and fries! It was a decent stop after walking the aquarium. If we had a bit more time, we would have probably walked a little further at Feneuil Hall Marketplace. It’s tops on our list for our next visit – we just ran out of days!
Cape Cod Getaway
Even though we had limited time in the city, we decided we wanted to get to Cape Cod for a day just to experience it. We were so fortunate with the weather that it made for the perfect day. First stop was Plymouth Rock. It was about a 45 minute drive, on the way to where we were going. This is a significant piece of history, and we were glad to see it, but it is way smaller than I thought it was!
Next stop was lunch at Chatham Bars Inn. It’s another hour down the cape from Plymouth, but totally worth the trip. The hotel is spectacular. It overlooks the water and has so much charm. Bryan and I both agree that we’ll be back here (probably kid free) someday. We had lunch on the veranda with a beautiful view of the water. It was a splurge meal, and we had a blast! Oysters, lobster roll, fish and chips and some delicious rosé made for a perfect lunch feast. Highly recommend this stop as it was highly recommended to us!
After that we headed down to the beach to take in the awesome weather and just hang out until it was time to head back to the city. Before we left, we stopped in at Cuffy’s to grab some souvenir sweatshirts and I’m so happy we did! It was a huge store and so affordable if you are looking to take home any Cape Cod apparel or trinkets!
All in all, a great trip, to a great city. We travel a lot, and it’s not always that we find ourselves constantly saying “we could spend more time here.” We said it every day. We could have spent another week in the city, and in a dream world, another week in Cape Cod. Someday! We’ll most definitely be back!